Please note: I posted both Chapters 5 and 6 in one night - make sure you don't miss reading the last chapter as it is very important. :)

The debriefing felt like it took hours, though it really took just under an hour. Vance decided to tell the Team about Gibbs' mission, given that the end was so close. Abby also talked him into telling Ducky and Palmer, given the fact that Palmer had been included in the text and would have questions about what had happened to her. The official statement to NCIS and to the media was that Abby had been abducted by a drug cartel when she had grown too close to vital evidence against them, but that she managed to slip her from away from her captor and turn it back on for the Team to locate her through GPS.

Abby had included all of the details about the kidnapping, leaving out only the rape. Instead, she explained that after Gibbs had been knocked unconscious that he'd come to much sooner than he actually had, thus deterring Hendricks from completing any abuse against her. As a forensic specialist, Abby knew the potential issues with leaving out the rape, but figured she was capable of getting any necessary health tests done on her own. As for her mental health…she had Gibbs. Her minor cuts or scrapes from being manhandled and shoved around were superficial enough that they lacked anything beyond cleaning. The bruises were significant, but they were written off as resulting from her being grabbed and pushed around. A large set of bruises were beginning to appear on her upper and inner thighs, where Hendricks' straddling had caused trauma. Fortunately, because Ducky was the one overseeing her wound care, he hadn't bothered to exam her entire body, believing her when she told him that much of the damage had been taken on her arms or upper torso.

Vance had implored Abby to go home and get some rest, but she felt strange going back to her apartment. Despite having lived there for so many years, she needed to feel safe, and the idea of her apartment wasn't an entirely comforting one. Instead, after picking a bag of clothes up from her apartment, Abby drove on towards Gibbs' house, where the police tape from the investigation had been taken down, to cause less notice from the neighbors. The door would be unlocked, as usual. It was as if people would stay away from the house from sheer terror that the owner was a member of a drug cartel. Though, Abby thought with amusement, they'd stayed away from sheer terror before as well, though out of fear of the looming Agent instead. No matter what Gibbs did, he intimidated people, and in an odd sort of way, that turned Abby on.

The house was dark, and quiet, as it usually was, but as soon as Abby entered through the front door, a happy, comforting feeling came over her. Though Gibbs had been gone for a considerable amount of time, it still smelled of coffee and a hint of sawdust. She made immediately for the basement, dropping her bag of possessions in the living room on the way. The boat that he had recently started stood in the center of the room; the room immaculately clean considering the work that went on down there on any given day. Picking a piece of sandpaper off of the work table, Abby began smoothing down one of the boat ribs, trying to fade everything but Gibbs and his signed words of love from her mind.


The next two days crawled by, Abby busy with evidence from one other case unrelated to the smuggling ring. It had been decided that the FBI would take over the evidence from Carter's murder as well as Hendricks' involvement, given how close Abby was to the case now. She had tried everything to keep it at NCIS, even going so far as to tell Vance that she would take on an assistant to watch her every move with the evidence, but nothing placated the Director, who believed it was best for all involved if the case was taken over by another agency.

Gibbs was due any time now, on a rainy, dank Thursday. Abby ate lunch with Ziva, though she couldn't keep herself from looking at the clock on her cell phone every few minutes, anxious for his arrival home and their subsequent dinner that night. Lunch ended happily, with each woman grateful of Gibbs' impending return, which bring business-as-usual back to NCIS.

But by four, Abby was worried. She paced around autopsy, lamenting to Ducky.

"Where is he, Duckman? Don't you think he would've been in by now? It's almost the end of the day!"

"Jethro will be here eventually, Abigail. You must be patient. I'm sure it is difficult just getting through the airport now, especially given that he will be bringing back evidence as well as still under the guise of smuggler."

"I know. It won't be until he returns here that he will hand over the evidence that will allow our troops to arrest the man in charge, and then he will remove his title of suspect, and will finally shove off this role as Man of Disguise. I just like it when he's here not when he's almost here."

"That is truly understandable, especially given how long he has been away from us, and the accusations that had been made against him." Ducky was tidying his desk, filing some long-forgotten reports. "But I am sure he will come to see you as soon as he has been cleared by Director Vance."

"Oh, he'd go to my lab first! I should be there, and not here! Stupid me!" She kissed Ducky on the cheek, "Thanks, Ducky!" With a bound she vacated the cold room and made for her lab, excited once more for the arrival of her silver-haired fox.


Gibbs groaned and rolled over, pulling at the restraints that held his ankles and wrists together. The room came into harsh focus as light poured in from a suddenly-opened door.

"Ah, Agent Gibbs, finally awake I see." A man with dark, cropped hair sauntered into the room, kicking up dust as he moved towards Gibbs. "Did you really think we believed your little scam? That you of all people would have gone rogue?"

"Plenty of your people believed it." Gibbs pulled himself up into a sitting position, using the wall as a brace against his back.

"My people are told what to do. They do not think for themselves."

"You might wanna tell them that. They haven't gotten the memo."

The man kicked him in the ribs, causing him to fall back to the floor from his spot against the wall.

"Have you been communicating with NCIS?"

Gibbs remained silent, still laying with his cheek against the floor.

"Yes, I figured you wouldn't be easy," he stalked from the room, slamming the door and plunging Gibbs back into darkness.

Gibbs rolled gingerly over and forced himself to sit back up. He had lost track of time from the lack of light, but he knew he should've been home by now. All he could picture was Abby, sitting in her lab expecting his arrival, and thinking about their planned dinner for the night. At least now she knew. At least now he could die without regret.

This is what happens when I take on some extra shifts substitute teaching... lots of writing. I can't guarantee how much will be posted in the next couple of days as my husband and I just moved into a new place, so there's tons of unpacking and setting up to be had. :)

Reviews will cheer me up as I have to unpack five million boxes!